Apr 14, 2019

Victory is Sweet for Billys and Castle Larchfield Purdy in the Twin Rivers CCI4*-S

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Lauren Billys and Castle Larchfield Purdy. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

“That horse has such courage and bravery and even when I’m hesitant he gives me the feeling that I can be brave with him. I just love riding him.”

No one could catch Lauren Billys and Castle Larchfield Purdy today as they stormed around James Atkinson’s cross-country course to take home the win in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers CCI and Horse Trials in Paso Robles, California. Billys and her own and the Purdy Syndicate, LLC’s 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Karistos x Hallo Purdy) picked up just 0.8 time penalties, securing her the win on a final score of 30.6.

“I knew [the course] was going to be hard because it kind of just kept coming at you and there were a lot of new things out there that we’ve never done before,” Billys commented. “Really almost every combination had some sense of accuracy to it – if it wasn’t the A, it was the A and the B. It kept coming at me and I just had to keep fighting all the way around.”

Lauren Billys and Castle Larchfield Purdy. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

With Tokyo on the horizon, this win was an important one for Billys as it solidifies her qualifications for the Olympics in 2020. “It was important for me to finish on a score that would be competitive anywhere. I feel like I did that – I finished on my best score yet. That made me feel excited for him. Like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better!”

“I can’t believe he’s back, he’s really back. I started tearing up as I came across the finish line. I have a really great group of owners behind him and they love him. It’s been really cool to honor them and honor Purdy along the way.”

Liza Horan and Lafite, her own 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Linaro x Sundrift Sandal), rose up the ranks from fourth to second following a clear round with 18 time penalties to finish on a score of 66.8.

Liza Horan and Lafite. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Leah Breakey and Master Class, her own 10-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding (Cree x Night Destiny xx), picked up 20 penalties at fence 11B, an open left corner, and an additional 22 time penalties for a final score 83.9 and a third-place ribbon.

Leah Breakey and Master Class. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Derek di Grazia elected to retire Ringwood Justice (Ringwood Harley Carol x Ringwood Venus), his own 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, following a refusal at fence 15B, the skinny chevron in the sunken road.

Lilley and Greenfort Carnival Rise to the Top of the CCI3*-S

Shannon Lilley and Greenfort Carnival (Aughrim Knight x Easkey Princess), Cassandra Ertl’s 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, started the weekend in fourth place on a dressage score of 34.8 and moved into second place following their clear show jumping round yesterday afternoon. Today, the pair put in one of just two double clear rounds to walk away with the win on a final score of 34.8.

Shannon Lilley and Greenfort Carnival. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

The pair have been together for a bit over two years and have been slowly and steadily building up their partnership. “I kept him at this level [instead of moving up to Advanced] because I wanted to make sure he had another good dressage test under his belt,” Lilley explained. “I felt like we really had it in all three phases. He’s one of those horses that can get a little tense in the warmup so I try to not do too much if possible. He went out today and he was the most consistent in the contact he’s been – it felt easy. He’s always been a strong horse and now he’s so rideable and I feel that he’s really come into his own.”

Lilley praised the work that both course designer James Atkinson and his team and the Baxter family have done to make improvements to the footing, which she thought felt quite good. “The Baxters do so much to keep it good all the time and they really care. It’s nice to have a family-owned venue where they really care about their event and they try to make it better.”

With a strong performance this weekend, Lilley will be moving up to Advanced at their next competition, The Spring Event at Woodside.

Liza Horan and Jennifer Salinger’s Hollister 13 (Hermes D’Authieux x Kiva), a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding, finished out the weekend on their dressage score of 41.1 to move from ninth place all the way up to second and take home the red ribbon.

Liza Horan and Hollister 13. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Third-placed Jess Hargrave and Regenmann, her own 12-year-old Trakehner gelding, added 8 time faults to their overnight score of 38.3 to finish the weekend on a score of 46.3.

Jess Hargrave and Regenmann. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Grandia and Campari FFF Secure the Win in Their First Advanced

Marc Grandia and Team Rebecca, LLC's Campari FFF (Camiros x Tanner) put in a clear cross-country round with just 6 time penalties in the 9-year-old Holsteiner’s first appearance at the Advanced level to take the win on a final score of 49.6. Grandia, who has produced Campari from the Novice level over the last four years, expressed his pleasure in the gelding’s performance this afternoon.

Marc Grandia and Campari FFF. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

“It was really fun. He was super bold and jumped around great. It was definitely not an easy track and he just tore it up. I could not be happier with him. He’s bold and ready to go!”

Next up for the pair is the CCI4*-S at The Event at Rebecca Farm in July, so between now and then Grandia said they’ll go to Spokane to do the Advanced/Intermediate there before heading to Woodside at the end of May. “We’ll pick what we do in June to prepare for Rebecca based on how he’s doing.”

“I’ve had him since he was five and he’s nine this year. I brought him all the way up and it was really rewarding to ride him around and have him be so bold and aggressive today.”

Gina Economou and her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Exclusive (Marlon x Julia S) added 16.4 time penalties to their overnight score of 44.4 to move into second place on a final score of 60.8.

Gina Economou and Exclusive. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Samantha Pritchard and King’s Landing (El Corredor x Shalini), her own 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, jumped clean with 9.2 time penalties to finish in third place on a score of 68.2.

Samantha Pritchard and King's Landing. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Overnight leaders Madison Temkin and her 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Dr. Hart (Skimming x Moving Memo) had an unfortunate glance off at fence 14B, adding 20 jumping penalties and an additional 16.8 time penalties to give them a final score of 76.6, putting them in fourth place.

Madison Temkin and Dr. Hart. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Still to come tomorrow is show jumping for the CCI2*-L and CCI3*-L divisions, so stay tuned!

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